Comments

  1. Vivec says

    Oh boy, David in Montreal parroting some Berkley-esque bullshit (“If god blinks, everything would disappear!”). Why propose this ridiculous system of god having to watch everything to make it exist, when there’s nothing wrong with the “things exist independent of observation and we’re just evolved primates on a rock that perceives some tiny percentage of those things” version?

    Patrick in Florida is just annoying and condescending (YER WAYEB PAIGE IS DAYSIGNED PREAETTY PITTY-FULL).

    Joe in Virginia was kinda just a boring morality call. Not really a topic that interests me, not really wacky enough to be interesting despite that.

    Darryl in Florida aka Snotty Theist 2: Electric Boogaloo

    Drake in New Orleans was cool, I guess. Not really worth calling but I guess it wasn’t objectionable.

    Joshua in Ohio was refreshing, I guess. At bare minimum, I’m glad it wasn’t another smug theist.

    Lee in New York was just as refreshing, helps get the taste of Darryl out of my mouth

    Michael in Ontario was useful, I’m generally in favor of practical “Can you help me with x” calls.

    Is there some like, Berkeley-ist resurgence happening among apologists? I’ve noticed a lot of this “things only exist because god is the eternal observer and if he blinks it all disappears” shit recently.

  2. Jon says

    I really enjoyed this episode. Interesting callers and Matt was spot on throughout the entire episode.

  3. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    I made a lengthly post but my phone decided to stomp on my mood. I have raged and decided to just pat myself on the back for the enjoyment I had writing it, that shit was magic, ime.

    Darryl was the highlight of this episode, I laughed a lot, so thank you, Darryl, my satanist(since I’m an atheist) heart is warmed by your outlandish conspiracy muddled claims. John’s quips also assisted in my amusement so ty, John.

    Drizzy go work on your next album, man.

    Did anyone else see Matt & John flicker in and out @ 1:14:20? Solipsism is a fact, don’t @ me, the proof is in the flicker!

    Joshua, honestly who cares, just luv your dad and move the fudge on. The guy’s probably on his last stretch anyway.

    Lee sounds like a child but is in college. Weird.

    Unfortunately, no trans individuals can expect to meet up with other nonconventional and awesome people like me in the barbeque pit, so weep in sorrow everyone!

    A qt note to end on with Michael.

    My compliments to the hardworking backstage crew.

  4. AllmightyDerp says

    David’s call had me fooled at first. For the first few minutes, I thought it was simply a random philosophical point he wanted the show hosts to consider. Turns out he’s a full-on catholic apologist whose goal is to tell the stupid, uneducated atheists what they ought to think. Color me surprised!

    I think David wanted to start not with the principle of sufficient reason but with an assumption of determinism, or “principle of necessary reason/cause”. Therefore, if there’s anything indeterministic about nature, there must be other “layers” of super-nature that are deterministic and would completely account for the unusual observations. I could follow up to that point but then he somehow gets to first cause arguments and testimonies of saints… it drives me crazy how loosely connected everything was.

    Catholic apologetics tend to reach the upper stratosphere of arrogance and condescension. This argument of “I believe because of the entire libraries of literature” is nothing more than argumentum ad populum (aka “I can bring up so many things to prove my point” – guess what, the significance of plurality diminishes with lack of relevance, and good luck getting them to establish relevance) and a convenient excuse to dismiss anything you might say because, after all, you haven’t read all the philosophies and autobiographies of the saints.

  5. Happy Hogan says

    David “because I studied Quantum Mechanics” is talking out of his ass. If he knew quantum mechanics he wouldn’t say such ridiculous shit about how quantum mechanics relates to determinism. It’s like he got his physics knowledge from the 1600’s. Really dumb shit.

  6. Jason Davis says

    David starts at 4:30
    Patrick at 38:30
    Joe at 44:50
    Darryl at 54:12
    Drake 1:05:20
    Joshua at 1:12:50
    Lee at 1:23:30
    Michael at 1:33:05

  7. Justin says

    For long time fans of this show, I’m pretty sure the first caller “David” is actually long time troll “Mark” from “Stone Church”. Sounds familiar. Do a quick youtube search and listen to the similarities in the voices. Maybe he took a break from trolling the show and now is starting up again thinking everyone forgot about him. Well, I’m on to you, Mark/David!

  8. BillBo says

    “If god blinks, everything would disappear!”
    A big problem Catholic David has to overcome is that any all-powerful god he reasons into existence is definitely not the same god as presented in the Bible. The god of the Bible is weak and fallible and anthropomorphized.
    1. It takes multiple days to create the universe and then it has to rest.
    2. It creates a sinful Man when apparently that isn’t what it wanted.
    3. To correct it’s mistake in #2 it needs this complicated scheme of gathering all the animals onto a boat and then causing a flood to kill off all the men. (How about just blinking here?)
    4. Doing #3 turns out not good enough, so it hatches a new complicated scheme involving breaking 1/3 of itself off and having the men kill it for 3 days. (Blink, god?)
    5. It leaves behind a document of all the mistakes it made that shows how fallible it is.

  9. Tsukihime says

    About that first caller, as a Canadian I apologize… There are lots of nut-jobs here.

  10. Monocle Smile says

    It’s always fun when people like David who clearly have zero knowledge of physics (despite his blatant lie about studying quantum mechanics) start blabbering on about determinism and speak in stupid, ridiculous blanket statements like “everything has a perfectly reasonable explanation.” I have absolutely no respect for people who like to talk about “everything” and apply a single category because we have limited data.

    Oh, and the pathetic shit talking comes in now. He just wants to appeal to consequences and pretend to hold absolute certainty. “Hard determinism is not desirable, therefore I’m better than atheists.” Fuck off.

    Catholic apologists grind my gears even harder than presuppositionalists. Like Chancellor said, their only real argument is a glorified Courtier’s Reply. They ignore the fact that Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas got a metric shit ton wrong at a fundamental level. And of course, as always, the next apologist to understand infinity will be the first. There is nothing outside of personal incredulity preventing an infinite regress. When David says “we can use reason,” what he means is “I can make shit up.” These Catholic fucks love the words “great” and “greater” because they’re undefined modifiers that can be used in any argument to make it “reasonable.”

  11. mond says

    I don’t have a problem with the idea that David seemed to start with.
    If we rule out the supernatural as a thing then only the natural exists.
    You could then make an argument for hard determinism.
    For the sake of argument I would concede that we live in a totally deterministic cosmos.
    BUT it is a pretty moot point on a practical level.

    Practical example.
    If I am asked to predict heads or tails of a coin toss;
    I cannot know what the outcome will be until the action takes place.
    This is the case in truly deterministic universe or one micro-managed by god. (and everything inbetween)

    I am actually quite happy with the idea that we are purely biological machines doing what biological machines do…after all, if true, what other choice do we have?

    I know some people get a bit skittish with the implications of a deterministic worldview on morality etc.
    But it is just the old argument that without god we would just go out stealin’ and a murderin’.

    If we do live in a deterministic universe it wouldn’t be the end of the world (sic).

  12. Mobius says

    @7 Monocle Smile

    Agreed. David claimed to have studied Quantum Mechanics and claimed QM is deterministic. I have a minor in physics and have known a fair number of physicists. None of them would make that claim.

  13. holiman says

    I was forced to make an account just so I could ask what is a pre constantine christian?

  14. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @mond #8:

    I know some people get a bit skittish with the implications of a deterministic worldview on morality etc.
    But it is just the old argument that without god we would just go out stealin’ and a murderin’.

    Which is strange. Acknowledging people can be influenced means they can be educated, talked down, or rehabilitated… or indoctrinated. It’s as if character development is expected to happen in a vacuum or denied altogether. Oh right, God is what turns lives around – by intervention.

  15. taintedbloop says

    I thought matt was on his game in this episode. Several times he either made me laugh or really just owned the caller. I expect several clips to be made of this episode. Also, when one of his rants was over and everybody clapped and then he said something like “as worthy of applause as that was…” made me laugh, usually he’s fairly modest and wont say something like that but it caught me off guard. I think he also was hoping for more laughs when he made the shower joke vs sye, but at home i was laughing.

  16. Brad James says

    I love John Icoletti. He has the ability to make the best point at the best time. Ive been watching this series for years and this was one of the best episodes. Matt gets hot, John stays cool. Pretty unbeatable. “Seems like you’re getting pretty hot” as a dry comeback to Darryl who said the same thing was a thing of beauty. Thanks John, I enjoy your work.

  17. zandronum says

    David sounded rather smug, although I’m almost convinced that he is a certain repeat caller..

    On an unrelated note, I’ve been dying to know the style of Matt’s beard. Anyone?

  18. says

    I’d love to know how one gets from “hard determinism” to “therefore, there’d be no morality or love”?

    It’s almost like this person thinks that deterministic means “no mental life” as opposed to “mental life that’s deterministic”. A mentality that is not based on events in the universe would be random and arbitrary.

  19. Grantus Maximus says

    @Brad James – yeah, I agree with you about John. I really like his dry, laid-back style. An excellent foil to Matt when he’s in full-on attack mode.

  20. Leo K says

    Holy smokes, David’s conversation quickly devolved into conjectures and slight of hand facts about his beliefs. I dont think I’ve heard someone on this show chuckle so nervously when asked to present evidence to his claims, or when the ‘evidence’ he presents is questioned. It scary to hear what some people are willing to believe simply on faith. A paper trail leading back to Jesus, really? If that’s the case, I have some holy artifacts I would love to sell him, with certificates of authenticity and all.

    Patrick in FL, I’m not sure he was even sober during the brief call to warrant any real criticism for what he had to say.

    Darryl, zzzz…. is it over yet?

    Joshua, not sure what he wants to gain from making sure his father is clear on their difference in faith or lack there of, but this is not a fault of his but a fault in my inability to see why people care what their parents think of them. I’ve heard its a thing that certain kids want their parent(s) to be proud of what they’ve become as adults, but I don’t share this desire, so when I hear about some people’s need to seek their parents approval or understanding on certain topics, it confuses me.
    I hope that when my little ones reach an age that they begin to reflect back on the lessons they learned from their parents (or elders), that they are confident enough to make whatever decision they want without having to worry about what dear ole mommy or daddy might think/say. This is not to say that they should live recklessly, but simply enjoy the fact that they can explore their options freely without this parental burden. It’s my job to make sure they have all the tools they need to flourish in the years to come, what they do with those tools up completely up to them.

    Just a couple thoughts on a few of this week’s callers.

  21. Leo K says

    @Jasper #15
    What immediately came to mind when I heard that was the recently declassified footage of nuclear test explosions:
    “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWpqGKUG5yY&list=PLvGO_dWo8VfcmG166wKRy5z-GlJ_OQND5”

    I’m pretty sure the ‘effect not greater than the cause’ nonsense can easy be disproved with most of the videos released.

  22. Monocle Smile says

    @Jasper
    I’m totally stealing that link. Brilliantly simple.
    David’s spiel is pretty typical of Catholic apologists. They don’t actually have a grasp of the subjects under discussion, they just know the talking points spoon-fed to them by prior Catholic philosophers and can retreat to the Courtier’s Reply when questioned. Some dudes a long time ago made shit up and wrote assloads of wrong things, and this somehow is the strength of their position.

    The EXTRA annoying Thomists are a real treat. They do their best to be every bit as long-winded as Thomas Aquinas and usually DO understand philosophy at a rigorous level. This angers me for two reasons: 1) They are capable of understanding that they are full of shit, but don’t care (most reject empiricism and logical positivism in discussions about god) and 2) they have all the tools necessary to run a discussion in circles by focusing on extremely pedantic usages of philosophical concepts.

  23. says

    @Leo 23

    Holy smokes, David’s conversation quickly devolved into conjectures and slight of hand facts about his beliefs.

    The moment he said he was part of some skepticism club I chuckled. He may want to quit. It doesn’t seem to be rubbing off on him.

  24. Chancellor of the Exchequer says

    Hi, Ethan(@#1)

    Your comment came through moderation later so your islam warnings went bypassed for a sec. Everybody knows that Islam supports the killing of those that aren’t or even are a part of the muslim fold, so, um, yeah?

    The hosts sometimes do talk about recent events but they are usually ‘merican centered.

  25. mond says

    I am in real danger in showing my ignorance here but I shall proceed.

    When quantum effects are mentioned as being non-determinist does it not depend upon the scale you are looking at?

    For example when we describe the half life decay of an element we cannot say exactly when each decay event will occur but it will occur at regular frequency. So on the tiny tiny temporal scale we can’t predict the decay but over a longer period you can state with confidence what will happen.

    There seems to be randomness within defined parameters.

    If I can use a crude analogy.
    It is a bit like if you get your salary paid directly into the bank once a month on an expected day. You may check your account balance several times on the day before you see the money credited but you can be certain that it will be there at some point that day. So the sensible time plan to your finances for the next month is the following day when you can be sure the money is there. You can mitigate the randomness of when the money is actually deposited so it has no real world effect.

  26. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @mond #28:

    So on the tiny tiny temporal scale we can’t predict the decay but over a longer period you can state with confidence what will happen.

     
    Article: Wikipedia – Central limit theorem

    To illustrate the meaning of the theorem, suppose that a sample is obtained containing a large number of observations, each observation being randomly generated in a way that does not depend on the values of the other observations, and that the arithmetic average of the observed values is computed.
     
    If this procedure is performed many times, the central limit theorem says that the computed values of the average will be distributed according to the normal distribution (commonly known as a “bell curve”). A simple example of this is that if one flips a coin many times the probability of getting a given number of heads in a series of flips should follow a normal curve, with mean equal to half the total number of flips in each series.

  27. CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain says

    @mond: I’m not versed in QM vs determinism arguments, so all I can do is restate your suspicion.

  28. AllmightyDerp says

    @mond We can’t say that decay occurs at a regular frequency either. The reason why we use half-lives is because the most we can say is: on average, for a very large number of atoms, we can expect half of them to have decayed in this much time.

    Your money could be there the very next moment, or you could wait until the end of the universe and never get it, but each month on average half of the employees at Decay Inc. get their paycheck and leave.

    Look up: poisson distribution, statistics, exponential decay.

  29. Monocle Smile says

    @mond
    It’s even more than that…the selection of specific atoms that actually decay is also statistically random. We can look at a particular atom in a sample and we have no idea whether or not it’s going to decay in the next half-life or the next hundred half-lives. EnlightenmentLiberal has brought up Laplace’s Demon before, and it’s relevant here. The key thing is that this demon is incompatible with certain QM interpretations like Copenhagen (note: “interpretation” here is vastly different from David’s “philosophical interpretation”).

    David’s nonsense about determinism only works if such a demon is possible, and people who spout off about hard determinism pretend as though the universe operates purely in line with classical physics. Either way, in the call he was trying to use determinism to bludgeon atheists with an appeal to consequences fallacy, which is creeping into fractal wrongness territory.

  30. ironchew says

    I’ll make the same disclaimer mond did in #28. I too am largely ignorant of the details of quantum mechanics.
    I would hazard a guess, though, that for a brain to make decisions explicable only by the indeterminacy of quantum states, it would have to operate at a temperature very close to absolute zero. The arguments about the causal nature of quantum events seem insignificant when compared to the emergent deterministic behavior of a warm-blooded human brain.

  31. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    To Monocle Smile
    I was somewhat recently schooled on this by some Pharygnula regulars. LaPlace’s Demon is a good place to start. However, I was wrong, and determinism does not imply the “potential” existence of a LaPlace’s Demon. Determinism does not imply predictability.

    I think the following is closer to a proper definition of determinism. The world is deterministic iff there is a deterministic mathematical model that perfectly and accurately models reality, and a mathematical model of reality is deterministic iff a full description of the universe at a snapshot in time implies a single unique solution for any other moment in time. From this definition, predictability does not follow, even by a LaPlace Demon. In particular, imagine a mathematical model which does not permit an exact solution and only numerical approximations. Worse, imagine mathematical model where it can be proved that there is a single unique solution given a time snapshot, but it can also be proved that one cannot even find the solution. In that world, there is only one way that the world “can” be, but it’s also not computable in any meaningful way. Predictability requires solvability and computability. Determinism only requires that there exists a solution, in the sense of the word “exists” according to the meth existential operator.

    I’m still tempted to argue that our world is governed by laws that can be computed to any required degree of accuracy, given hypothetical computational power (ignoring the inherent seeming randomness of quantum mechanics).

  32. RationalismRules says

    @EL#35 I don’t understand why the philosophical concept of determinism would be dependent on mathematical modelling? Or are you just using mathematics as an exemplar of models and solutions?

  33. Monocle Smile says

    @EL
    I appreciate the info. I guess David was even wronger than I first thought.

  34. Patrolg says

    21.21 – David – from Montreal.
    David is driven by an assumption that beyond the first cause (big bang), there must be ‘something’. Certainly what has a beginning will come to an end. Universe will pulled unto itself and will lie in slumber again for a long time and then again to ‘explode’ in myriad of Creation.
    Even the most intelligent being and with spiritual\conscious powers would tell you frankly that they do not know what lies beyond the big bang.
    Perhaps the hosts do deny the spirit \ consciousness part of the human being: how else would the human being capable of evolving if there is no impulses\energy field (information) to go with as to keep evolving and searching for the highest truth or even the truth of all truth ?
    Without it, there would never never had even any development let alone even communication in this format.

  35. drangus says

    New term for a particularly annoying rhetorical tactic used by theists on the show:

    Decepticoptering — The strategy of pivoting between a succession of bad arguments only to arrive back at the first and repeat the process. Rebut –> pivot –> rebut –> pivot…ad infinitum.

  36. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @EL#35 I don’t understand why the philosophical concept of determinism would be dependent on mathematical modelling? Or are you just using mathematics as an exemplar of models and solutions?

    I do not have a firm understanding of what the following claim might mean: For any single point of time in the future, there “exists” a single unique “possible” way that reality may be at that point in the future. Loosely, that is the claim of determinism, but when it’s phrased like that, I find myself confused. I am not sure what “exist” and “possible” mean in that context. That’s the crux of my understanding problem.

    However, I do have a firm understanding of the word and concept “existence”, but only in two very specific contexts: 1- the existence of a physical object, 2- the existence of a solution to a set of mathematical / logical constraints, i.e. the existential operator of predicate logic.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Existential_quantification

    I can define a property “determinism” on a mathematical model of physical reality so that a mathematical model of physical reality is deterministic iff given a complete snapshot of the universe at some point T0, then for all points of time Tx, there exists a single unique solution of the model at time Tx. I have a firm understanding of what this means because I have a firm understanding of what “exists” means in this context, and because I don’t have the word “possible” anywhere there.

    Then, it’s quite easy to define “determinism” in the context “a deterministic unvirse”: A universe is deterministic iff there exists a mathematical / logical model which 1- is deterministic, and 2- which is a fully accurate and complete model of the universe.

    My error, that was corrected by Pharyngula posters, was to wrongly conflate “predictability” with “determinism”. By just this definition alone, predictability does not follow. For example, the mathematical model may permit checking solutions without finding solutions. For example, it may be non-constructively provable
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constructive_proof
    that the mathematical model is deterministic, without having an algorithm that can compute all snapshot-descriptions of the universe according to the model given some initial snapshot description of the universe.

    I hope that makes it clear.

  37. hbloke says

    darryl asks matt about bestiality and matt says animals (non-humans) are unable to give informed enthusiastic consent to having sex with humans. he also states that he is against it on the grounds of potential pathogens being transmitted between the species. in the case of the latter there is no evidence that diseases are passed between species through sexual activity (rabies may be passed by the infected animal simply licking a human – regardless of whether the ‘lick’ is a part of any sexual activity).

    in the case of the former (informed enthusiastic consent), is matt assuming that there is penetration involved and that the human is the one doing the penetrating? if this is the case then the animal is usually capable of expressing its lack of desire to engage by running away, biting, scratching, screaming (in pain) etc. but if the animal is the one doing the penetration and is clearly having a good time then that seems to me an indication that the animal knows what it is doing and is happy to continue for as long as it enjoying the experience. of course it’s unlikely that it cares at all whether the human is having as much fun, but then you can’t have everything.

    so….i disagree with matt in both cases; it is perfectly possible for an animal to express informed enthusiastic
    consent to having sex with a human, and that having done so, it is unlikely that either participant is going to catch anything as a result.

    here is an interesting discussion i found on reddit after watching the show.

    https://www.reddit.com/r/askphilosophy/comments/3dgitu/why_is_bestiality_wrong/?st=j4a7rgej&sh=c22a5132

  38. Monocle Smile says

    @hbloke
    Well, that’s an interestingly appalling and fact-free screed. I don’t see many folks defending bestiality, and that was quite the disaster.

    r/askphilosophy seems like a great place to visit to contract a migraine.